Quick Reference

Usually with the agnomen Derg, Dearg [Ir., Bodb the red]. A son (sometimes brother) of the Dagda and his successor as leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Bodb is described as having two residences, at Sídh ar Femen on Sliab na mBan [Slievenamon] in Tipperary and near Killaloe in Co. Clare, on the west bank of the Shannon. This has prompted some commentators to see two Bodbs, the one at Slievenamon being called ‘Bodb of Munster’ and the other, at Killaloe (also in Munster), ‘Bodb Derg’. If that distinction is correct, it has not always been observed by storytellers, who use the residences interchangeably. After the defeat of the Tuatha Dé Danann by the Milesians and the death of the Dagda, Bodb becomes the sovereign of his people. This displeases Lir, who establishes his sídh on the opposite (east) coast of the island. Bodb's foster-daughter Áeb becomes the wife of Lir and thus the mother of the Children of Lir whose story is told in Oidheadh Chlainne Lir [The Tragic Story of the Children of Lir]. After the children's stepmother Aífe changes them into swans, Bodb punishes her by making her a demon of the air.

Famed for his wise judgement, Bodb helps Angus Óg to discover the identity of the girl in his dreams, Cáer. Bodb's best-known daughter is Mesca, but in some Fenian stories he is described as the father of Sadb, the mother of Oisín. Another daughter is Doirend. Bodb's goldsmith or artificer was Lén, whose workshop was at Lough Léin, the older Irish name for the Lake of Killarney. His pigkeeper Friuch plays a leading role in the story of the begetting of the bulls at the beginning of Táin Bó Cuailnge [Cattle Raid of Cooley]; a second pig-keeper is the one-eyed Nár.

Subjects: Religion.

Reference entries